Diversity committee aims to raise women's share of board seats to 30 per cent by 2030

SINGAPORE - The Diversity Action Committee (DAC) is tackling under-representation of women on boards of Singapore-listed companies with a series of ambitious targets to raise their share of board seats over the next 13 years.

The DAC, chaired by Singapore Exchange chief executive Loh Boon Chye, hopes to double the current share of board seats for women from the current 9.9 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020; then 25 per cent by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. If successful, this could lead to women filling 460 more board seats by 2020, 690 more by 2025 and 910 more by 2030, according to data compiled by DAC.

"The first jump to 20 per cent by 2020 is indeed challenging," Mr Loh told a briefing on Tuesday. "It is a possibility, but not likely probable. We recognise the challenges, but it's an aspirational three-step target that we're trying to achieve."

To that end, he called on the 100 largest listed companies who also have the largest boards averaging 8-9 members, to "demonstrate the compelling benefits of having women on boards to the smaller companies."

Larger companies should take the lead because they "have the capacity to examine governance implications without delay, search outside traditional pools of talent, and are more likely to receive scrutiny and comments from investors," Mr Loh said.